PREVIEW: Sweden – Carlstad Crusaders v. Kristianstad Predators

Offensive fireworks expected in Carlstad this weekend.

On Saturday, the Kristinstad Predators will take the long journey from southern Sweden up to Carlstad for a huge early season match up.

The Predators come into the game (1-2) following a very tight match vs. the Tyreso Royal Crowns losing late in a close contest 34-28.

Quarterback Philip Juhlin, a Kentucky native with Swedish roots, leads the Predators with a whopping 431 yards of offense per game, accounting for 350 passing and an impressive 81 yards per game on the ground. Highly regarded as one of the top two quarterbacks in Sweden, Juhlin will match up against Anders Hermodsson, Carlstad’s super freak of an athlete. Through three games, Hermodsson is fifth in Sweden at 224 total yards per game.

Sweden - Carlstad - Hermodsson-Koepp2

Anders Hermodssson and Brett Koepp a deadly combination

Carlstad (4-0) won a tough game at Uppsala last week 39-34 with Hermodsson running in the tie-breaking touchdown with 1:51 on the clock.

The Crusader’s defense, which had struggled all game, shut down Uppsala on the last drive to get the win.

This game will feature two former coaching colleagues in the USA matching up for the first time in Europe. The two head coaches, Jon Walker (KP) vs. Malik Jackson (CC) became quite familiar with each other while coaching in the USA.

Saturday’s game will also feature the return of Rick Rhoades, who coached the team in 2012, as Carlstad’s fourth offensive coordinator of the year. While this might be a record for coordinators in one season, the Crusaders have hardly missed a beat, running up a 4-0 record in Sweden while also dismantling the Helsinki Roosters (Finland) and Copenhagen Towers (Denmark) in the European Champions League play.

Also of note, is the return to the Crusaders of Olof Flemström, the 2014 Swedish championship finals MVP. Olof had been out nursing a sore leg and will be a big addition to the Crusaders defense.

In the two games last year between these two teams, the Crusaders dominated beating Kristianstad 56-35 in the regular season and then pounding them 64-7 in the semi-finals.